I have three confessions to make:
1. I’ve got the scar of a gunshot on my forehead.
2. I don’t remember an entire year of my life.
3. My name is Kellen Adams…and that’s half a lie.
Girl running…from a year she can’t remember, from a husband she prays is dead, from homelessness and fear. Tough, capable Kellen Adams takes a job as assistant manager of a remote vacation resort on the North Pacific Coast. There, amid the towering storms and the lashing waves, she hopes to find sanctuary. But when she discovers a woman’s dead and mutilated body, she’s soon trying to keep her own secrets while investigating first one murder…then another.
Now every guest and employee is a suspect. Every friendly face a mask. Every kind word a lie. Kellen’s driven to defend her job, her friends and the place she’s come to call home. Yet she wonders—with the scar of a gunshot on her forehead and amnesia that leaves her unsure of her own past, could the killer be staring her in the face?
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd writes “edge-of-the-seat suspense” (Iris Johansen) with “brilliantly etched characters, polished writing, and unexpected flashes of sharp humor that are pure Dodd” (ALA Booklist). Her fifty-eight books have been called "scary, sexy, and smartly written" by Booklist and, much to her mother's delight, Dodd was once a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. Enter Christina’s worlds and join her mailing list at www.christinadodd.com.
Read an Excerpt
Washington State's Pacific Coast Yearning Sands Resort September of last year
Before Priscilla Carter came to Yearning Sands to be the resort's assistant manager, she supposed her life here would involve a blend of poetry, nature and wealth. She imagined long walks among the towering pines, evenings spent in the luxurious lobby, sipping a cocktail while watching the sun set across the restless Pacific, and a wealthy, interesting man who would catch sight of her and rush to her side drawn by the rhapsody of their souls.
That hadn't happened.
When a wealthy, interesting man did show up — and they did, on a regular basis, because Yearning Sands was a destination resort — he was usually married to someone smart, pretty and young. If a single guy caught her gazing at the sunset, he would inevitably tell her his room needed to be cleaned. Her two seemingly good prospects bought her a couple of drinks, gave her a quick grope and rushed for the finish line, and when she demanded romance and promises, they couldn't be bothered. Every viable candidate treated her as if she was a slave, and not the kind they wanted to handcuff and spank and have wild sex with, either. More like a faceless vehicle who lived to make their lives easier. That was so not her.
The man she considered her best prospect, actor Carson Lennex, had reported her brazen behavior to the resort owners. In forceful terms, Mr. Di Luca had reminded Priscilla that her role here was to assist Mrs. Di Luca, the resort's manager. He used words like, probation and trial period, and suggested she might consider chasing her dreams elsewhere.
Elsewhere? She didn't have another position — or a runaway marriage — lined up. So she went to work and got her chores done ... mostly.
Priscilla was in training to take over from Annie Di Luca when Annie had one of her sick spells — Annie was really old and suffered from rheumatoid arthritis — or when the Di Lucas went on one of their rare vacations.
The main hotel building resembled a European castle with towers and turrets, and 592 rooms. Forty-eight cottages were scattered around the property. The resort hosted whale-watching tours and fishing expeditions off their dock, hiking trips to the nearby Olympic Mountains, and expertly-led scientific treks seeking local flora and fauna. They rented all-terrain vehicles, bicycles and small launches. They had four bars, twenty-seven miles of running paths and a beach access that led to the second-longest beach in Washington State. Luxury-inclined guests indulged in the infinity pool, the fine restaurants and the top-notch spa services. When the hotel was at capacity they had two thousand guests, and ordering and organizing for the resort required hours and hours. Priscilla got tired and impatient, and sourly commented that it seemed as if all of the guests were complaining all the time. But surely no sane person could expect her to do it all and do it all with a smile.
Apparently someone did, because that someone complained about her sullen attitude and Mr. Di Luca called her in again and gave her another tedious lecture about being polite to the guests and even the rest of the staff. Like they mattered. He made Priscilla so mad she couldn't sleep.
That was the night it happened.
The resort had lodged her in a rustic cottage at the farthest end of the property, supposedly so when she was off duty, she'd have privacy. Priscilla suspected it was to keep the lowly employees away from the privileged guests.
She went upstairs to the bedroom to try and sleep. No luck. At midnight she got up and poured a glass of wine. She went out to the front porch, and paced and drank. She got another glass, sat in the porch swing and rocked and drank.
She got madder. She put her foot up on the arm of the swing, looked at her silver toe ring, at the Celtic knot with a purple topaz. That ring was the only memento she had from her mother. It kept her safe.
Finally she abandoned the wine and headed along a path toward the beach, walking fast and angry and muttering curses on the entire Yearning Sands Resort staff.
Off in the distance, she heard a motor, a boat on the ocean. Probably someone illegally fishing ...
But it wasn't illegal fishing.
A person clad in dark clothing ran the path from the dock and toward the wind-warped pine the locals called the One-Finger Salute. Belated caution made Priscilla duck into a nearby pile of boulders. In the moonless night she couldn't see who it was or if the person was male or female. She only knew whoever it was bent to place a package at the base of the tree, and ran back to the dock. The motor started again and the boat raced away.
She saw no one lurking in the darkness. Fueled by curiosity, recklessness and wine, she scurried to the tree and groped for the package. She found it in a shallow hole — an oblong box wrapped in paper. For its size, it was heavy; she knelt in the dirt and lifted it free. Hugging it to her chest, she got to her feet and ran toward her cottage. She arrived out of breath and out-of-proportion excited, as if she had been given a late birthday present. She scurried inside, locked the door and hustled through the cottage, closing the blinds as she went. She climbed the stairs into the bedroom, turned on a lamp and placed the box on the bedside table.
She stared at the dirt-smudged package and wondered what she had gotten herself into. Whatever this was, someone had smuggled it on shore in the middle of the night. Logically, someone was now scheduled to pick it up. So it was valuable, and she was an idiot for sticking her neck out to grab it.
But her hopes of a rich husband had been crushed, she'd been working hard and got nothing for her labors but a reprimand, so why not open this in the hope of finding treasure inside?
Tearing off the paper, she lifted the lid. Inside she discovered bubble-wrapped packages of various sizes, and when she unpacked the largest and heaviest, she discovered the red stone figure of a man squatting on his haunches, an immense penis protruding between his legs. She was so startled she dropped the grotesque thing. It landed on the mattress, and she stood breathing hard.
What was that?
She opened another, smaller package and found a similar stone carving of woman's naked pregnant body. Then a series of broad-cheeked faces with glaring eyes and ferocious scowls. Finally a flat stone carved with weird symbols. She lined everything up and looked at the hideous things.
Someone was sneaking around for this? Her knees were wet and dirty for this? For a bunch of ugly rocks?
She went into the bathroom and brushed her teeth. She intended to go to bed, damn it, go to sleep, and ... okay. Those statues looked old. They were worth something to somebody. One quick online search and she found photos of those very statues in an article about Central American tomb looting. In Guatemala, armed thieves had held archeologists at gunpoint and stolen statuary worth millions on the private collectors market.
"Holy shit," she whispered. She stared at the ugly statues lined up on her nightstand. Millions.
She double-checked to make sure the blinds were tightly closed.
One of the archeologists claimed the symbols on the flat piece of stone were a tomb curse that had been chiseled out, and whoever possessed that would be doubly cursed.
Yeah, sure. Cursed with money.
She should turn this find over to the authorities. Maybe there was a reward. Or maybe she'd be in trouble for ... for stealing the statues.
Millions. That meant someone around here was going to be plenty mad not to find the box by the tree. Better return these at once.
Except ... she'd never before been this close to anything worth millions. She deserved something for knowing about the smuggling and keeping her mouth shut. This was her opportunity. If she had the guts.
Getting the resort stationary and the resort pen, she wrote, "Leave $2000 —"
She threw that note away and started again. "Leave $5000 dollars in a —"
She threw that note away. She took a photo of the stolen tomb treasures. She printed the picture, put it in a plastic bag and wrote, "I know what they're worth. Leave $25,000 in cash here in an envelope on Sept. 12. When I have the money, I'll return the box to Ocean Notch Park beside the high schoolers' painted rock." She'd make the drop-off in broad daylight, on her way out of town, when there were people around. She'd be safe.
She reread the note. The handwriting was shaky, but she sounded clear and tough. She knew the smuggler — Who could it be? — would follow directions. Because ... millions. All she had to do was put the letter in the bag with the photo, return to the tree and drop them off, and not get caught by someone who. Briefly, she shivered. Someone who might be violent.
She would not chicken out. Better do it now. She donned dark clothes, pulled a dark wool hat over her blond hair and ran in a crouch back to the tree. She put the envelope in the hole at the base and a rock on top of it. She raced back to her cottage, and every moment she felt the back of her neck crawl. When she was inside, she locked the doors, checked the rooms, sat on the bed and stared at the collection of statues.
They stared back, solemn, angry, cruel.
They gave her the creeps, so she packaged them up again and stashed the box in the closet.
The next morning, the sun was shining. She went to work and apologized for being late. Annie was, as always, a sweetheart. That skinny exercise freak and spa director, Mara Philippi, invited her to attend the new self-defense class. One of the pilots who flew guests into the airstrip confided that he was a war hero and hinted at a tragic disposition that only a woman's true love could cure.
As Priscilla worked on the resort's supply orders, she began to think she had a future here. She began to have second thoughts about demanding money from a smuggler who, well, might be willing to kill for a fortune. Millions. Maybe she shouldn't have sucked down that entire bottle of wine ...
At noon, she returned to her cottage, got the box, brought it to the resort and stashed it. But now what? She couldn't give those statues to the authorities. She had incriminated herself by writing that note. She needed to retrieve the note. Then she would take the box of horrors to Mr. Di Luca and tell him ... tell him what happened, but say she forgot about it. Or she didn't realize what was in it.
No, not that. Better to pretend she hadn't opened it.
Whatever. She'd figure it out.
She spoke to Sheri Jean Hagerty, guest experience manager, and volunteered to lead a tour of the property. Sheri Jean was surprised, but civil. She gave Priscilla a stern lecture about how to behave to the paying guests, then anointed her official Yearning Sands expedition guide.
Priscilla promised to do everything precisely right. She put on the charm for the guests, made a point of taking them to the tree and explaining why it was called the One-Fingered Salute, and glowed when they laughed. She directed their attention to the nearby stack of boulders and explained it was called the nut sack, because the rocks were shaped like walnuts, and she pulled a disbelieving face. They laughed again. With some surprise, she realized she could be good at this. She directed them to the path leading to the Butler Lighthouse Viewpoint, told them it was a great spot to watch for whales. While they were off exclaiming about the panorama, she checked on the envelope.
It was gone. In its place was something that looked like.
She leaned down and brushed at the dirt. Something mostly buried ... She brushed a little more.
A woman's hand. With polished nails. And a ring.
A hand. Dear God, a hand, a hand, a severed hand.
Priscilla didn't scream or throw up. She had enough sense for that. Head swimming, she stood, wanting to get away from the vile thing. That threat. That promise of death and dismemberment. What should she do?
Run away. Now.
"Are you okay? You look ill."
She jumped, looked up at the older woman, a guest with concern on her plump face. The hand in the ground was revealed, crumpled in death's agony, so Priscilla made eye contact with the woman, and started shoving dirt into the hole with her shoe. "I don't feel well. A sudden sickness ... flu season has started."
The woman took a step back. "You should head back."
"You're right. I should. I'll call the other guests."
"No!" The woman took another step back. She didn't want to be infected. "Send somebody from the resort for us."
"Thank you. I'm sorry." Priscilla must look bad. White. Sweaty with fear.
She was going back to her cottage to pack. Now. Put everything in her car and run away. And whoever found that box of cursed statues could keep it.
I have three confessions:
1. I've got the scar of gunshot on my forehead.
2. I don't remember an entire year of my life.
3. My name is Kellen Adams ... and that's half a lie.
Washington State's Pacific Coast Yearning Sands Resort January of this year
On January 27, a low tide revealed ocean caves normally submerged by water, Leo and Annie Di Luca left on vacation, a woman's mutilated corpse was found on the grounds and it rained.
The rain was business as usual.
In early November, U.S. Army veteran Kellen Adams had accepted the position of assistant resort manager. Annie warned her she had arrived at the beginning of what the locals called the Monsoon Season.
Kellen had chuckled.
But they weren't kidding. In winter, on the Washington coast, wind blew. Rain fell. The sun rose late and set early. Every day was an endless gray. The holiday season had been busy and full of guests and lights and cheer, but when the decorations came down and January trudged on, their few guests came for discounted prices on meals and rooms. The resort used the downtime to paint, repair and clean, and Annie practically pushed the hospitality staff out the doors, telling them to go somewhere sunny and come back refreshed and ready to face the Valentine's Day rush. Everyone snatched at their chances to vacation elsewhere, and they knew where to find deals. They were, after all, in the hospitality business. They had connections.
Kellen told Annie she had nowhere to go, no relatives to visit and no desire to smell coconut-scented sunscreen. She stayed, reveling in the isolation, determined to learn everything Annie could teach her, and kept so busy she fell into bed at night and rose early in the morning. She loved the schedule; it left her little time to think, to remember — and to not remember.
Then on that dark, cold, rainy morning of January 27, Annie followed her own advice. She and Leo prepared to fly to warm and sunny Bella Terra, California to celebrate their family holidays at the original Di Luca family resort.
Under the hotel portico, a group of elderly tourists climbed onto a tour bus, so Annie rolled in her wheelchair through the rain toward the limousine.
Her assistance dog, a black lab named Hammett, trotted beside her.
Kellen walked on the other side, holding an umbrella and protecting Annie from the windblown blasts of rain, her brain's little quirk kicking in, her mind subconsciously scrolling through its catalogue of data on the elderly woman:
Annie Di Luca: Female, white, elderly, height undetermined. Too thin. Curly white hair, great cut, brown eyes. Wheelchair bound. Rheumatoid arthritis. Resort manager. Brilliant with staff and guests. Kind to a fault. Frail. Husband: Napoleone (Leo) Di Luca, married "since the earth's crust cooled."
"We'll be back in two weeks," Annie said. "After my last experience with an assistant, I was determined not to hire a replacement. But Leo insisted, and you know the only reason I relented was because you were a wounded veteran."
"I wasn't that wounded." Kellen rotated her shoulder.
"Enough that the Army discharged you!"
"Men were killed." I was unconscious for two days. Had an MRI to discover the cause of my coma. Tricky things, land mines. Woke to find myself being discharged; I hadn't realized the military could process paperwork that fast.
"I'm sorry, dear, about the deaths. I know how you feel about your comrades-in-arms."
Excerpted from "Dead Girl Running"
Copyright © 2018 Christina Dodd.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dead girl running was a fun read despite some of its weaknesses. Some aspects of the story were great. I liked the main character, Kellen, she was well written and I felt at times as though I was immersed in the character. There were a few technical glitches, as a trained pistol instructor and an engineer, it bothers me when writers get their hand guns and their science not quite right. I also know coming from a military family that ex military are fiercely loyal to the folks they served with (well portrayed) but don't necessarily talk about their time in the military the way it was depicted. These items bothered me, but may not bother everyone as much. Some of the leaps of faith were real leaps, as though the author was trying too hard to build a complex back story. It should have been enough that Kellen had to deal with a murder, and someone trying to kill her, but then her old life had to catch up with her, and she happened to end up in the middle of two nearly impossible coincidences. The main plot was well done, and a good read, like a cup of cocoa on the couch in your favorite pajamas. It wasn't too deep, it was just an enjoyable read. I cant wait for the next book in the series.
Dead girl running, is one of the best book they I have read , it keep me up until I finished, trying to figure it out the twist and turns of missing memory and solving a murder at the same time just brilliant.
Fasr paced page turnet. Great story line. Highly recommend it.
Loved the pace of the story and the people.
I often turn away from books classified as "thrillers". They usually are not my style of story. I like Ms. Dodd's work and this sounded interesting, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did. It's dense and convoluted. Different time lines weave in and out. Evil and goodness are there, but it can be hard to tell one from the other until the end. It's quite a ride and well worth it!
So many twists and turns and unexpected flips I swear I nearly had whiplash at times but I found it almost impossible to put this one down! First off, we have Kellen who is working as the assistant manager of a resort on the Washington State coast and it is just after the new year and Annie and Leo who own the resort are going on vacation and leaving everything in her capable hands. Within a short time the head of security decides he is leaving on vacation also and now she is running everything. To top it off, even though there are only a few guests there are a few more coming in and, good heavens, she notices coyotes chewing on bones. On closer inspection, it turns out they are human. This sets off everything...a mutilated body, a bumbling police officer, and a staff who all seem to have secrets. All of this along with a holes in her memory. This was a very good story with a surprising ending that will have me picking up the next book in this series immediately when it comes out!
3.5 Kallen has several issues from her past that she is running from. An abusive husband and a year she can't remember are just the beginning of her problems. When she gets a new job at a vacation resort, Kallen starts to think that maybe, just maybe, her life is going to change for the better. Nothing could be further from the truth. Author Christina Dodd's writing is new for me and I must admit I found this first book of the Cape Charade series to be pretty exciting. As things start to go bad for Kallen, she is no longer sure who she can trust (and neither did I). The story included dead bodies, stolen historical artifacts, lots of action and just a smidge of romance. What more can a reader ask for? I already have the next book loaded and ready to read. I'm anxious to see where Kallen's life goes from here. My thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley.
Great book! I couldn't put it down !
3.5 Kellen Adams is an enigma. A girl who’s been on the run with 1 entire year of her life simply gone from her memory. She ends up working at a vacation resort where she finds a sense of peace and belonging. She brought some of her team members from her military days to work there; basically her “family”. Things seem to be going really well. Then a dead and mutilated body shows up on shore. Thus beginning a series of twists and turns in a suspense full of who “dunnits”. I was questioning everything! At least for the most part. So, while the suspense kept me reading and the romance was appealing, there were parts I struggled with. The beginning totally sucked me in. I’d say for the first portion of the book I was intrigued but then started to feel bogged down with a data dump. There was a lot of information to absorb which detracted from the story line a bit. Then just as the story started making my heart race it began to slow and level off. BUT don’t worry it doesn’t last long. The story started to gain traction again and in a big way; it got me turning pages at lightening speed! So by the last page I felt better about the book. I think Christina Dodd is an amazingly talented writer. Her books rock! So, while this may not be my favorite of her books, I have no doubt I’ll be reading the next one. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review is voluntary and all opinions and thoughts are my own.
This was a very exciting book! I did not know who the killer was till the end! There were so many suspects! I want to know if she and Max have a future!
When I pick up a Christina Dodd book, I know I will get an entertaining novel written in her own distinctive voice. In this book, that voice “screamed” every trope Ms. Dodd ever used into the story - a strong heroine with amnesia; a gothic, moody atmosphere; depraved and evil villains; a smattering of the supernatural/mystical; quirky characters who can be funny and/or melodramatic - she even threw in a cameo of everyone’s favorite kissed-by-the-Frog-King Sheriff, Kateri Kwinault! Yet somehow, someway, it all comes together perfectly to create a romantic suspense read that is heavy on the suspense, very light on the romance and containing an epic twist/reveal at the end! The book’s blurb lays out the plot perfectly. Kellen Adams has a deadly-looking scar on her forehead, tumultuous memories of her past and a missing year in her life She comes to the Cape Charade area in coastal Washington fresh from an Army medical discharge to take a job at Yearning Sands resort. As assistant manager, she is placed in charge when owners Leo and Annie DiLuca take a post-Christmas vacation to visit family in California. The minute when Leo and Annie leave, the skies literally and figuratively turn dark - the former assistant manager turns up dead and everyone at the resort is acting suspicious. So, what sort of criminal activity is going on at the resort? And what is the mystery that is going on inside Kellen’s head? Are these two mysteries linked? Kellen was a fascinating lead - a strong phoenix that arose from the ashes of a brutal marriage that ended in tragedy. How she came to be the Kellen we meet in the story is intense, sad yet ultimately uplifting. The cast of characters in this novel are many, but fortunately Kellen’s unusual talent gives us handy insights to most of them. And for a character that doesn’t show up until easily half way through the book, Max DiLuca stole the show for me, so to speak. Actually, the very ending stole the show - it had me so gobsmacked I had to re-read it several times. WOW - well done Ms. Dodd, well done. *applause* I really enjoyed this kick-off to the new series, and eagerly await the next book!
" I have three confessions...." With that start get ready for a great ride! This is Christina Dodd at her best!! Who is Kellen Adams...what happened to her during that year she can't remember? This book has suspense, a touch of romance, strong lead characters and interesting, memorable secondary characters. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!
I picked this book up because I loved the sound of that summary and decided it needed to be my next read. It was a pretty great choice and I'm excited because it is the beginning to a series which I didn't realize until I finished. There was so much going on in this book that I almost don't know where to begin. Kellen has had a bad run of things which is why she is now working at a vacation resort far away from the life she once led. As you begin to read this book, there are chapters that explain her past and help to make more sense of why she is the way she is now. I liked the back and forth and felt that it helped flesh out Kellen as the main character. There was a really solid layer of tension to this book thanks to everything that was happening. And because Kellen is missing memories from a year of her life there is also a slightly unreliable narrator feel going on with Kellen. She doesn't know the full truth of what happened so I as the reader couldn't fully trust her memories in relation to everything that was going on. I'm trying to not give too many details as I don't want to spoil anything for anyone that hasn't yet had the chance to read this book. Fair warning though - I'm going to get a little more detailed now so if you want to skip ahead to the next paragraph and avoid spoilers feel free. My one and only complaint with this book was that it lacked believability at times. Letting Kellen be involved in the investigation of the woman's body for one. I found early on that for me to really enjoy this one to let those details go and just enjoy the ride the author was taking me on. I only mention it because it did bother me at first and may also bother other readers in the same way. On a different note, I loved the ending of this book! I realized that I was getting towards the end and didn't yet have all of the answers so it wasn't a surprise to me that the book ended in a cliff hanger. But what did surprise me was how that all played out - boy do I sure wish I already had that next book waiting in my hands! I cannot wait to see what happens next! Overall I really enjoyed my time with this book and am left wanting more! This is my first book by Dodd but it won't be my last. A couple of times this book mentioned a place called Virtue Falls and I believe that I have the first book in that series on my own shelves. Maybe I'll go and try that series while I wait for the next book in this series to release. It wasn't a perfect read but it was a book that sucked me in so I couldn't stop reading. I would rate this one a solid four stars which is pretty darn good. It wasn't perfect but I enjoyed my time with it which is all I can really ask. I'm excited to go and check out Dodd's backlist now to see what else I've been missing out on. Recommended! Bottom Line: A suspenseful read that left me wishing for the next book! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley. Thoughts are my own.
Wow - what a fantastic thriller this book was - I loved it. The plot is brilliant and clever. Written with a sassy sense of humor, my fear was broken up and I was able to laugh out loud during parts. This story moves at a bullet’s pace. I really liked Kellen and how she served as a manager of the Yearning Sands Resort while Annie and Leo Di Luca left for vacation. Even though part of her past is blank, she was resolved in being strong, tough, wise, and organized. And through her military training, she knew how to handle weapons and tough situations. With murders going on around her and the cold winter weather being unforgiving, I was caught up in the story and in trying to figure out who was guilty. And when Max Di Luca was able to go to Yearning Sands to help out, I swooned and fell in love. I really thought that the description of each new character, as seen through Kellen’s eyes, was a clever way to introduce the reader to anyone new. In bold, each one had a short summary of their name, age, description, background, position, and what Kellen thought of each of them. This whole book was dynamic, and I highly recommend it to those who love suspense.
This was a fun read. I enjoyed the suspense of the story and that it will continue as I want to know more. Mrs. Dodd knows how to make a story flow that it hooks you no matter the genre she writes. I want to know what is next for the main character. I can't wait for the next chapter of the tale.
Dead Girl Running is about a woman running from her previous life as a battered wife. She runs from that life and she ends up at a resort as the assistant manager in Washington state. Not only is she keeping her identity secret, but She can't remember a year of her life, which includes a gunshot scar to her head. When she is left in charge of the resort while her boss takes a vacation, she finds the dead body of a woman. She becomes involved in the investigation and suspense ensues. I thought this book was ok, but it took me a while to finish it ....and by the time I did - bam! Cliffhanger. I hate cliffhangers. Although I will say that I am very interested in reading the next book now, so kudos Christina. I would say if you like a nice suspense story go for it, but be warned, you will want the next book now.
Christina Dodd’s latest book, Dead Girl Running (DGR) came up on NetGalley for review. I smugly requested it, thinking this will be easy because they like me, they really like me. I was refused. I spent days wandering in the wilderness of dive bars, hole in the walls and gin joints seeking solace in demon rum.(work with me here) But a miracle happened and Harlequin reversed itself. I was delighted and even more so when I finished DGR. The story has several threads running through, all of them centered on former army officer Kellen Adams. Kellen has taken a job at the luxury resort, Yearning Sands, as assistant manager. When Annie and Leo Di Luca, from the Bella Terra series, and owners of Yearning Sands leave on vacation, Kellen is left in charge of the resort. There are few guests at Yearning Sands during the dark and stormy nights of January; most of the staff is gone too, seeking sunnier climes during this traditionally slow month. Guests and staff who are willing to stay through this wild but beautiful time, are horrified when Kellen discovers the remains of a mutilated murder victim on the grounds of Yearning Sands. A quiet guest outs himself to Kellen, telling her that he is an agent of a small under- the- radar government agency and that the murder could be related to an investigation he is running. Kellen has her own issues with spouse abuse, stolen identity and a year lost to memory. Murder is another issue she could have lived without. After unexpectedly having to assume the position of security director, Kellen doesn’t know who to trust. The Di Luca’s relent to Kellen’s pleas and send one of their own, Maximilian Di Luca to take over her security duties. Max seems very faintly familiar to Kellen, possibly from her lost year, but he gives no indication of knowing her. The setting of Yearning Sands is wondrous, the wild Washington Pacific coast, mesmerizing in fair weather, but mad, bad and dangerous to know during the winter months. On the other had the other hand, Shivering Sands sounds like a dream, every wish catered to by highly trained staff, except for that possible murderous staff member. But then the sadistic killer could be one of the guests too. There are plenty of choices, with the stakes so high. Kellen quotes something that brings me right back something my mom used to say, “I only trust me and thee, and I’m not too sure about thee. Or me.” So fitting for Kellen’s frame of mind. Dead Girl Running provides plenty of excitement; and no small amount of “Hmm, I never thought about that” moments. Ms Dodd bravely tackles with gentle insight the tragedy of spousal abuse. The reader will most likely come away with a greater understanding of the victimology and understand Kellen’s search for family. Any family. Even just a family made up of co-workers. Only a few quibbles, Kateri Kwinault, Virtue Fall’s Sheriff really only makes a cameo appearance and without Stag! Also, the ending, that lovely ending, I needed more, a lot more. It’s not a cliff hanger, I just want to continue to know Kellen’s life. DGR is the start of a new series combing Virtue Falls and Bella Terra. So I'm hoping to read much more about Kellen.
OMG! This book was awesome! Ms. Dodd manages to pull off the impossible by outdoing herself with each story. I loved this one so much that I tried to savor the chapters instead of plowing through. I really wanted it to last. The first book in the Cape Charade series had me holding my breath and desperate to know more of Kellan's backstory as it was revealed. It's a great set up for book two. Everyone seems to be suspicious and hiding something when a body is found. There's lots of strange goings on at the Yearning Sands Resort. The twists and turns are full of surprises that you won't see coming. Fans and new readers alike will absolutely love this and will be begging for the next.
I enjoyed this book , but not as much as Christina's more recent Virtue Falls books. There are too many characters, although this may be due to the fact that this is the first book in a new series. This book opens with Priscilla Carter, the assistant manager at the Yearning Sands resort, finding a smuggled package on the beach. She takes the package, leaves a ransom note, and returns the next day to find a woman's severed hand instead of the money she demanded. She hides the package on the resort grounds and runs away. Four months later, Kellen Adams is the new assistant manager, and is running the resort during the vacation of the resort's owners, Annie and Leo Di Luca. Kellen is actually Cecilia, an abused wife whose husband killed Cecilia's cousin (the real Kellen), and presumably himself in an explosion. After the explosion, Cecilia assumes Kellen's identity and moves to Kellen's apartment in NYC. Fearing discovery by the police, Cecilia moves to Philadelphia where something traumatic happens. Cecilia wakes in the hospital with a scar from a gunshot wound on her forehead, and has amnesia about the previous year. Panicking, she enlists in the Army. Upon her discharge, she gets a job at the Yearning Sands resort, and in short order hires several fellow Army vets to help staff the resort. Shortly after Annie and Leo Di Luca leave on their vacation, Priscilla Carter's mutilated body is found. Cecilia and the resort staff attempt to keep the resort running and keep the resort guests happy and safe. One of the resort guests, Nils Brooks, is actually a government agent posing as an author while he investigates a suspected smuggling ring at the resort. Max Di Luca, Annie and Leo's nephew, comes to resort to provide security. He seems somehow familiar to Cecilia -- as her memories start to return, Cecilia realizes that she knew him in Philadelphia. Cecilia, Nils, Max, and various resort staff try to uncover the leader of the smuggling ring, and find themselves in danger as the search goes on. The book improves as it goes on, especially as the search for the smuggling ringleader develops. There is also a bit of mystery as to whether Cecilia's husband is actually dead. I enjoyed reading the flashbacks as Cecilia's memory slowly returns. There will be at least one more novel in this series, and I will look forward to reading it to see what happens next in Cecilia's life.
Great Summer Read! Former U.S. Army Captain Kellen Adams takes a job as assistant manager at an exclusive resort along the Pacific Coast, looking for a place she can finally call home. But an easy transition into civilian life goes by the wayside when Kellen is left in charge and the body of the former assistant manager washes up on the resort property. Then, the head of security abruptly leaves “on vacation” and Kellen must figure out who she can trust as it becomes more and more apparent that the perpetrator is a resort employee. Is the traitor/killer one of Kellen’s own handpicked crew? To find out, Kellen must confront the skeletons of her own past and draw on her formidable army skills to solve the murder and expose a rare antiquities smuggling ring before more lives are lost (including her own!). So how is this book? If you like plot twists, this is your book. If you like strong female leading characters, this is your book. If you like well-drawn characters and like to feel part of the setting, this is your book. If you’re the kind of person who likes to read a chapter or two a night to wind down before you go to bed, this is probably not your book, because you will get to a point where you can’t put it down…
I thoroughly enjoyed Dead Girl Running. It kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. The main characters lives were developed and delightful to dive into. It was fun to read the author's well-known admission that she's been married "Since the earth's crust cooled" as it applied to the owners of the resort. The twists and turns that the book took were both expected and unexpected, so you never knew which way it might go at any given moment. I'm excited to start a new series and also revisit familiar characters from other beloved series.
Yes, Dodd has done it again--she's written another book that I couldn't put down until it was finished. I love the way her characters are quirky, but tug at your heart. And she paints remarkable word pictures that make you feel a part of the story in real time. Dodd's ability to weave a suspenseful tale without giving up the "who-done-it" is remarkable. In the midst of her tales, she also teaches--about communities and character and professions. I can't wait to read the next installment...but I know it'll be another long (and fast) night!
From the beginning to the end, the book kept me engaged and intrigued by the characters and events. Set in an isolated North Pacific coast resort, the heroine of the story, Kellan Adams, has many mysteries to solve while trying to keep everyone at the resort, including herself, safe. I liked the fact Kellan was a military veteran, who hired more vets to work at the resort. It gave a group dynamic to that set of characters that you don't often see in books. I enjoyed that a character from Dodd's Virtue Falls series made an appearance in this book. Whenever I thought I figured out what was happening or who could be trusted, something unexpected would happen. Every employee, including Kellan's military buddies were a possible suspect. Even after you find out what exactly is going on at the resort and who is the mastermind behind it, Christina Dodd has that one last surprise for her readers at the end of the book. I can't wait to read the next book in the Cape Charade series and learn more about Kellan's fate.